First look: Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room (slide show)

A new bibliophile haven comes to Bushwick, where you can browse, borrow or settle in for a good long read.

0

Comments

Add +
  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room


The notion of a private library generally conjures images of a cloistered room full of high mahogany shelves, leather-bound tomes and pipe-smoking old guys with walrus mustaches. You’ll find the opposite of that vision at Mellow Pages Library & Reading Room, a decidedly populist venture that has popped up in Bushwick.

Across from the Morgan Ave L stop, Mellow Pages, which opened last week, is situated inside a space that isn’t much larger than your average Brooklyn bedroom. In lieu of shelves, books are hung on the walls like paintings in a gallery, showcasing interesting cover designs. The selections run the gamut from staples by Plato and Yeats to contemporary works by the likes of Adam Levin and Leanne Shapton.

The spot is a coproduction of fiction-writing MFA student Matt Nelson and artist-cum-commercial-fisherman Jacob Perkins, two friends who had a bunch of books and a big idea. The concept is simple: Anyone who wants to can drop by the space, pick a tome off the wall and choose a spot on one of the couches to read with a cup of coffee or a beer (both available with a $2–$5 donation). If you want to borrow a book (one volume at a time, up to a month), you can become a member by either paying $20 a year or by donating ten volumes to the library from your own collection—which you’re welcome to take back at any time. “You’re not donating the books to us for keeps,” Perkins explains. “This is a way that you can share them comfortably.”

Nelson and Perkins were inspired by Pilot Books, a now-shuttered shop in Seattle (where both used to live) that specialized in small-press and independent editions. Recently, Perkins inherited a stack of theory and philosophy books from his brother, who has just earned his Ph.D. in political theory. When he combined his books with Nelson’s volumes, plus others donated by friends and small presses, the two had a sizable collection on their hands (last we looked at MP’s ever-expanding catalog on Goodreads, it was up to 580). Perkins then offered up his Bushwick painting studio as a venue.

Though the offerings on MP’s walls include plenty of classics and mainstream books, Nelson and Perkins are hoping to focus on indie publishers in particular. Already, imprints like Ugly Duckling Presse and Argos Books, plus authors like Sam Pink and Michael J. Seidlinger, have donated stock to the library. “Normally, you have to be in the culture a little bit already to know about small-press books. But maybe this’ll open some doors for people. It’s a great way to get your book out there for people who haven’t seen it before,” says Nelson.

The proprietors hope that MP will become a community space for readings, workshops, film screenings and parties. “We want to use the space for whatever people proposition us with,” says Perkins.

At their packed opening shindig last week, cans of PBR were doled out as revelers talked and browsed the collection. “It was cool, because people were touching books the whole time,” says Nelson. “There was a lot of just looking at shit, which you can’t really do at a bar. If you’re in here, you have a lot of ways to occupy your attention.”

56 Bogart St between Grattan and Seigel Sts, Bushwick, Brooklyn (206-459-1358, mellowpageslibrary.tumblr.com). Daily 9am–9pm.


Users say

0 comments